La Plata Peak is over fourteen thousand feet in elevation and the fifth highest mountain in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located in the Sawatch Range in northwestern Chaffee County, approximately 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Leadville, Colorado, just south of Twin Lakes and State Highway 82 on the east side of Independence Pass. La Plata peak is located completely within the San Isabel National Forest and is part of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.
The peak's name means 'silver' in Spanish. This comes from the many silver deposits in the area. The nearby ghost towns of Winfield and Hamilton were prominent silver mining towns in the early part of the 20th Century. A Hayden Survey team first climbed the peak on July 26, 1873.
There are two commonly used routes to climb the mountain. One route begins near Winfield, to the south of the peak, and climbs north into a large marshy basin at 12,000 feet (3,700 m). From here the trail becomes steeper as it scales a headwall to 13,000 feet (4,000 m). From the top of the headwall it is a short rock scramble to the summit. The other route approaches the summit from the north. The trail starts from Highway 82 and follows the northern ridge that divides the La Plata basin from La Plata Gulch. Another more challenging route is the northeast arm of the peak known as Ellingwood Ridge a Class 3 climb with 6,000 feet of elevation gain.
Activity: Climbing, Hiking
Prominence: 1,841 ft (561 m)
Peak elevation: 14,336 ft (4,370 m)